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Joel Palefsky, M.D.

Infectious disease specialist

Dr. Joel Palefsky is an expert in infectious diseases and cancers associated with these diseases. His expertise includes the treatment of anal dysplasia, a pre-cancerous condition that may lead to anal cancer and that is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Anal dysplasia occurs in men and women and is especially common among patients infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). He also specializes in the biology and development of new treatments for HPV and Epstein-Barr virus.

Palefsky earned a medical degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada and completed a fellowship in infectious disease at Stanford University. He is the founder and president of the International Anal Neoplasia Society and president-elect of the International Papillomavirus Society. He is a professor of medicine and laboratory medicine at UCSF.


Anal Neoplasia Clinic, Research and Education (ANCRE) Center
1701 Divisadero, Suite 480
San Francisco CA 94115
Phone: (415) 353-7100
Fax: (415) 353- 4298

Hours: Monday to Friday
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Conditions & Treatments

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McGill University 1984


McGill University, Internal Medicine 1984


Stanford University, Infectious Disease 1988

Selected Research and Publications

  1. Lahiri CD, Dugan KB, Xie X, Reimers L, Burk RD, Anastos K, Massad LS, Eltoum IE, Xue X, D'Souza G, Flowers L, Palefsky JM, Rahangdale L, Strickler HD, Ofotokun I. Oral Lopinavir Use and Human Papillomavirus Infection in HIV-Positive Women. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015 Oct 1; 70(2):e63-6.
  2. Bennetts LE, Wagner M, Giuliano AR, Palefsky JM, Steben M, Weiss TW. Associations of Anogenital Low-Risk Human Papillomavirus Infection With Cancer and Acquisition of HIV. Sex Transm Dis. 2015 Oct; 42(10):541-4.
  3. Ortiz AP, Marrero E, Muñoz C, Pérez CM, Tortolero-Luna G, Romaguera J, Rodríguez N, González-Falero A, Palefsky J, Suárez E. Methods in HPV Surveillance: Experiences from a Population-Based Study of HPV Infection among Women in the San Juan Metropolitan Area of Puerto Rico. P R Health Sci J. 2015 Sep; 34(3):117-27.
  4. Colón-López V, Ortiz AP, Del Toro-Mejías L, Clatts M, Durán-Guzmán G, Pérez N, DaCosta M, Palefsky J. Prevalence and Correlates of Penile HPV Infection in a Clinic-Based Sample of Hispanic Males. P R Health Sci J. 2015 Sep; 34(3):128-34.
  5. Palefsky JM. Screening to prevent anal cancer: Current thinking and future directions. Cancer Cytopathol. 2015 Sep; 123(9):509-10.
  6. Moscicki AB, Darragh TM, Berry-Lawhorn JM, Roberts JM, Khan MJ, Boardman LA, Chiao E, Einstein MH, Goldstone SE, Jay N, Likes WM, Stier EA, Welton ML, Wiley DJ, Palefsky JM. Screening for Anal Cancer in Women. J Low Genit Tract Dis. 2015 Jul; 19(3 Suppl 1):S26-41.
  7. Palefsky J, Berry M. Prevention of anal cancer - can we do better? Dis Colon Rectum. 2015 May; 58(5):e76.
  8. Gonzalez P, Hildesheim A, Herrero R, Katki H, Wacholder S, Porras C, Safaeian M, Jimenez S, Darragh TM, Cortes B, Befano B, Schiffman M, Carvajal L, Palefsky J, Schiller J, Ocampo R, Schussler J, Lowy D, Guillen D, Stoler MH, Quint W, Morales J, Avila C, Rodriguez AC, Kreimer AR. Rationale and design of a long term follow-up study of women who did and did not receive HPV 16/18 vaccination in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Vaccine. 2015 Apr 27; 33(18):2141-51.
  9. Brickman C, Palefsky JM. Human Papillomavirus in the HIV-Infected Host: Epidemiology and Pathogenesis in the Antiretroviral Era. Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2015 Mar; 12(1):6-15.
  10. Ortiz AP, Reyes JC, Palefsky J, Negrón J, Da Costa M, Vázquez M, Rivera AI, Matos TD, Rios-Olivares E, Tortolero G. Oral human papillomavirus infection among drug users in Puerto Rico. P R Health Sci J. 2014 Dec; 33(4):190-6.
  11. Massad LS, Xie X, Burk R, Keller MJ, Minkoff H, D'Souza G, Watts DH, Palefsky J, Young M, Levine AM, Cohen M, Strickler HD. Long-term cumulative detection of human papillomavirus among HIV seropositive women. AIDS. 2014 Nov 13; 28(17):2601-8.
  12. Torres-Ibarra L, Conde-Glez CJ, Salmerón J, Palefsky J, Hernández-Nevares P, Sánchez-Alemán MA, Magis-Rodríguez C, Lazcano-Ponce E. Risk factors for anal HPV-16/18 infection in Mexican HIV-infected men who have sex with men. Prev Med. 2014 Dec; 69:157-64.
  13. D'Souza G, Burk RD, Palefsky JM, Massad LS, Strickler HD. Cervical human papillomavirus testing to triage borderline abnormal pap tests in HIV-coinfected women. AIDS. 2014 Jul 17; 28(11):1696-8.
  14. Ghartey J, Kovacs A, Burk RD, Stewart Massad L, Minkoff H, Xie X, D'souza G, Xue X, Heather Watts D, Levine AM, Einstein MH, Colie C, Anastos K, Eltoum IE, Herold BC, Palefsky JM, Strickler HD. Genital tract HIV RNA levels and their associations with human papillomavirus infection and risk of cervical precancer. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2014 Jul 1; 66(3):316-23.
  15. Hernandez AL, Efird JT, Holly EA, Berry JM, Jay N, Palefsky JM. Incidence of and risk factors for type-specific anal human papillomavirus infection among HIV-positive MSM. AIDS. 2014 Jun 1; 28(9):1341-9.
  16. Zhang C, Park JS, Grce M, Hibbitts S, Palefsky JM, Konno R, Smith-McCune KK, Giovannelli L, Chu TY, Picconi MA, Piña-Sánchez P, Settheetham-Ishida W, Coutlée F, De Marco F, Woo YL, Ho WC, Wong MC, Chirenje MZ, Magure T, Moscicki AB, Sabol I, Fiander AN, Chen Z, Chan MC, Cheung TH, Burk RD, Chan PK. Geographical distribution and risk association of human papillomavirus genotype 52-variant lineages. J Infect Dis. 2014 Nov 15; 210(10):1600-4.
  17. Ortiz AP, Pérez-Irizarry J, Soto-Salgado M, Suárez E, Pérez N, Cruz M, Palefsky J, Tortolero-Luna G, Miranda S, Colón-López V. Human papillomavirus-related cancers among people living with AIDS in Puerto Rico. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014; 11:E80.
  18. Patel J, Salit IE, Berry MJ, de Pokomandy A, Nathan M, Fishman F, Palefsky J, Tinmouth J. Environmental scan of anal cancer screening practices: worldwide survey results. Cancer Med. 2014 Aug; 3(4):1052-61.
  19. Kojic EM, Kang M, Cespedes MS, Umbleja T, Godfrey C, Allen RT, Firnhaber C, Grinsztejn B, Palefsky JM, Webster-Cyriaque JY, Saah A, Aberg JA, Cu-Uvin S. Immunogenicity and Safety of the Quadrivalent Human Papillomavirus Vaccine in HIV-1-Infected Women. Clin Infect Dis. 2014 Jul 1; 59(1):127-35.
  20. Berry-Lawhorn JM, Chrobak D, Jay N, Palefsky JM. Who is ready to screen for anal squamous intraepithelial lesions and why should they perform high-resolution anoscopy? Sex Transm Dis. 2014 Apr; 41(4):254-6.

Publications are derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and provided by UCSF Profiles, a service of the Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at UCSF. Researchers can make corrections and additions to their publications by logging on to UCSF Profiles.